6 Tips to Network
GROWING TAKES ACTION
As a brander, you need to know how to build your brand. No brand has ever been successful by doing the same thing day in and day out and gotten different results. As you build your brand you need to be ready to adapt to new ways of doing things. Often, though, these “new ways” are based on old principles, it’s just that the manner they are performed is different.
One of the main principles of branding is networking. Expanding your network—whether its customers or business relations—is a major aspect of brand growth.
How branders or entrepreneurs understand networking often varies. Some grasp the importance of networking, while others don’t. If they do understand the importance, a small percentage actually do it or know how to go about doing it. For some they make excuses as to why they don’t network such as:
- I don’t know how to network.
- I don’t have the time to network.
- I don’t think networking is important in my line/field/expertise of work.
If you’re using excuses to justify not networking, you are setting your brand up to fail. In the words of George Washington Carver; “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” If your networking is not built into the foundational core of your branding you need to add it. The great thing is that it’s not too late to add networking, so let’s look at 6 sure-fire ways you can add networking into your brand.
1. The Elevator Pitch
There are many different origins of the elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is the way you’re able to verbally explain your brand—what it offers as well as why people should use you over your competitors. Sometimes referred to as your fast pitch, 30-second pitch, or 60-second pitch. Work on your pitch, rehearse it, and memorize it. Always be ready no matter where you go to give your pitch.
2. Go to Events
Previously we talked about attending conferences. In that article, we talk about networking when you attend conferences, however conferences are not the only events where you can network. Are there local mastermind groups you can attend where you can meet and get to know other people? Are there community events where you can get out and meet with people? Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce; do they have meetings? The important thing is to find events or activities where you can get out and meet with other businesses or potential customers. These don’t need to be costly activates where you need to spend large amounts of money. If you look, you’ll find plenty of free or low-cost events that you can utilize.
3. Around Town
As you run errands around town, you’d be surprised how many people you can meet that you can network with. The people in line with you at the coffee shop, the post office, the bank, or wherever you go—they are all potential people interested in what you offer. Step out of your comfort zone and talk with individuals, have your business cardready to hand out, and accept cards in return. Even if your brand is national or international, it helps to have a pool of local people you can turn to for fast and quick questions or testing.
Your brand can benefit greatly by reaching out and getting involved locally. Your involvement with local functions and community activities helps you build a reputation and trust. Community involvement can often lead to greater exposure as the activity organizers often have their own connections or networks where they can pass your information along. By getting involved with local nonprofits and fundraisers you receive positive PR that positions your brand in a positive light.
5. Social Media
A prime example of a new way to apply old methods, social media allows your brand to establish relationships with people worldwide. If your brand doesn’t have a website (which it really should!) you can set up the next best thing. The question comes as to which social media channels your brand should utilize. With the brevity of social media engagements, your elevator pitch training will be helpful in preparing quick, succinct messages. Social media engagements provide a way to engage and communicate directly with people who have expressed interest in your brand.
6. Follow Through
No matter how you network with people, an important aspect to remember is that you need to adequately follow through with your conversation. Did you offer to provide a follow up? Go above and beyond the expected result. Reaching out and following through causes a reciprocal mentality—when you reach out, you tell the individual that you remember them and then they, in turn, remember your brand. If handled properly this provides the opportunity for a positive interaction, leading to trust and loyalty.
Implementing networking skills into your branding allows you to be in better touch with people that could be affected by your brand. It also helps you to understand your brand better as you get into the habit of having to answer questions regarding your brand in honest, open dialog. Move past the possible excuses you have and reap the benefits of networking today.
Ideas To Make Your Brand Better Now:
- Identify your main objections to networking and determine a plan to overcome them
- Choose two of the six networking tips to implement this week.
- Create a plan to begin implementing the other four tips within the next three weeks